Ryan set to campaign on 'are you better off' question
September 3rd, 2012
10:01 AM ET
2 years ago

Ryan set to campaign on 'are you better off' question

Greenville, North Carolina (CNN) – Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, will put the question that Democrats struggled to answer this weekend at the heart of his campaign message Monday: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

While nothing new for the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan campaign, that question gained renewed attention Sunday after prominent surrogates for President Barack Obama couldn't give a definitive "yes" answer in various television appearances. On Monday Democrats seemed more certain, though still attempted to balance touting improving economic data with the tough realities that many Americans still face.

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Ryan, campaigning in North Carolina, will make a stab at answering the question Monday at a campaign stop in Greenville, 230 miles from the site of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Republicans have long sought to portray Obama as unqualified to the challenge of fixing America's ailing economy, and much of last week's Republican National Convention was spent attacking Obama's record on jobs creation.

Romney's campaign said the theme would continue through the week, leading up to Obama's acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, speaking on CNN's "Starting Point," said his team was set up adjacent to the Democrats' event to push their message that Americans are not better off than they were in 2008.

"We were able to secure a great space down the street at the NASCAR Hall of Fame," Priebus said. "We set up with about 50 to 75 press folks down there and we're going to be ready to respond to everything that the Democrats say, and I think that the real issue this week and what you're seeing happening yesterday on the Sunday morning talk shows is the fundamental question back on the table for Americans, which is: Are you better off today than you were three or four years ago? Issues come and go and they will, but at the end of the day this is going to be about facts."

Ryan's presence in his rivals' convention state may seem familiar - Vice President Joe Biden was supposed to campaign last Monday in Tampa, Florida, just as the Republican convention got underway.

But Biden's two day swing through Florida was canceled due to Hurricane Isaac, which also rained out the first day of the Republican convention.

Both Florida and North Carolina are crucial battleground states that both campaigns are fighting to win. A CNN/Time poll released Monday of likely voters in Florida and North Carolina indicated the race for the White House was knotted up in both states.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • North Carolina • Paul Ryan
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. jaimie

    Read ROLLINGSTONES 8/30/2012 article under politics. Someone finally telling the american people what Romney is hiding

    September 3, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. v_mag

    Are we better off with Obama than we would be with another George W. Bush? How can anyone answer "No" to that? America was sinking into depression when Bush left office, and now his clone is waiting to be crowned. I don't think even the Repugnants want to go back to Bush. They have hidden him from view, and no one spoke his name at the convention. Romney = Bush, so how could anyone vote for Romney?

    If he's not a clone of W, then how is Romney any different from Bush?

    September 3, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Chumlee

    Ryan is a total freak show. Lies, Lies, Lies.

    What a total joke this ticket is – a bunch of frauds, losers and no ethics

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 3, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    This Gop teaparty extremest will be lucky if he gets realected in his home district like BACHMANN,never mind vp. If you want Medicare and soc sec cut and can afford to pay your mom and dads Medicare bills ,vote for romney the tax cheat and Ryan akins BACHMANN, do you trust these Gop goofballs with your parents soc sec and Medicare trust funds ??????

    September 3, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. icowrich

    It depends on what you mean by "4 years ago." If you mean 4 years ago, today, people at least *thought* they were better off then. If you mean January 19, 2008 (the last full day of the Bush presidency), then, yes, we are definitely better off now.

    September 3, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Marie Latting

    We are much better off and CNN knows it. The people know it! We see how you turn everything around trying to make Romney and his hoods look good. The people are not fools. We let you say and do anything you want. At the end of the day, we are the voters. We are going to vote for the best man (Obama).

    September 3, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. beevee

    The GOP leadership must be thinking that the prettyboy face of Pinochio (P) Ryan and his blatant lying nature swing independents to their side. Well they are dead wrong.I thought with all the lies he said in his convention speech this Pinochio's nose fell out of my TV. No way I am voting to these two liars.

    September 3, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. Steve

    You mean when everyone thought society was collapsing within months, and the U.S. economy was bleeding jobs at 750 000/month... uh yeah, mr. ryan, i do think we are better off.

    September 3, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Ta111

    If a CNN/Time pol has it knotted up you can figure that Romney/Ryan are ahead by 3-5%.

    September 3, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. John Black

    America better than your plan.

    September 3, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. VBD

    I guess the answer is yes, much better off. Keeping the Bush era tax cuts and capping SS taxes has certainly contributed. Thanks all you poor people, we appreciate your hard work.

    September 3, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Indy

    Whats with Republican's VP picks ? Sarah Palin was liar of the year in 2008 and Paul Ryan is fast becoming the liar of the year 2012 and he even stooped as low as bringing his mother on stage to lie with him and their entire theme for their convention was based on out of context lies "You didn't build that" (highway or road), Maybe these lies are more effective to rally the base than using "Lets go back to the Bush policies" slogan

    September 3, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. The Real Facts

    Four years ago, the stock market was continuing to plunge. The economy was falling off a cliff. The S&P 500 was about to fall through 1000 on it's way down to 664. The majority of retirement funds suffered major losses to the point where people close to retirement were in danger of losing a significant portion of the retirement security that they worked all their lives for. Major banks were failing. Commodity prices were plunging. The job losses were staggering. Consumers were so shocked , they stopped spending and as a result many small businesses were closing. GM and Chrysler were facing bankruptcy. We were headed into the next great depression. Yes I would say we are better off than we were four years ago. What a stupid question to ask.

    September 3, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. Sorensen

    Typical stupid GOP question. The real question is: Do you think you would have been better ofdf if Romney had been
    president?

    September 3, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Joebygod

    To answer the question, YES I am better off Today !!!

    September 3, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. "We Built This"... Campaign On Lies

    The question to ask is...How would you fair under a Romney/Ryan Administration with old Bush policies? Remember what happen last time.

    September 3, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. bcarreiro

    What kind of car do u drive ryan? (gm)???

    September 3, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. Bob Texas

    After the GOP left the country in a depression. The answer to the question is not much but we are better. AND ONE THING IS SURE I DO NOT WANT TO GO BACK THERE AGAIN.

    September 3, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Af

    Does Ryan is absolutly not fit the VP position. Therefore he will cost Romney lossing the white house bid. Ryan should try a state widewide election first before considering a national post. Don't vote for Ryan please

    September 3, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    This guy is an idiot. Sure we are 10000009 times better off without WARS. Idiot. Wars broke this nation to the GROUND. Idiot.

    September 3, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. curious

    What bame does Ryan accept as a member of congress for the state of things? What has Ryan accomplished in hs thirteen years in office?

    September 3, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. Karl Jonas

    That's an easy one Paul. I'm better off than I was 4 years ago - Sept. 2008. The stock market was plunging 500 points A DAY and my 401K lost 40% of its value. It's since recovered about half of that. In 2008 my company shrunk from 30 people to 23 people. Now we're at 25 people.

    Lyin' Ryan thinks we're too stupid to remember how things really were, and whose fault that was.

    September 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. CanadaONE

    Romney has alot of money in the Cayman Islands and can help Ryan with facial plasitic surgery – but yes the USA is better off with a 21st century perspective of Obama as opposed to the republican 19th century economic approach

    September 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. AnneS

    Obama Inherited a horrible mess from decades and decades of misuse of the taxpayer's money, the money grubbing Congress, who pass the bills their corporate buddies want passed, and who all felt they needed many raises, and perks like cars...etc.., from both Democrate and Republicans alike .

    The above embroiled mass can't be 'fixed' in 4 years. It is held together by millions of miles of red tape, and to unravel it will take a loong time. It is not the lack of ability on our President's part. The Senate is what stonewalls everything. Look to them and you will see where the fault lies.

    Anyone can promise something with words, but words on the campaign trail are cheap. It is the action on those promises that count, and it takes everyone working together, not fighting, posturing, etc..... like very small boys.

    The Parties, Republican and Democrat, fight between themselves, and when their focus is on what is good for the Party, is where what is good for our country gets shoved to the wayside.

    It would be refreshing to see both parties work for the good of the people, instead of fighting between themselves. The whole social politics thing in Wash. DC....needs to disappear, so we can begin to b elieve in our elected officials again. As it is now, our government is on a different planet from the rest of us.

    The very idea of a bunch of people in congress working up a health system for the nation, and Medicare is ridiculous. No one in goverment has the same insurance as the 'common' people, so why should we b elieve they know what;s best. The common people pay the salaries of governmental workers......and that simple fact is forgotten.

    Our government is losing credibility and people no longer trust it.

    September 3, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Uh, oh. Mr. Ryan wants to talk "are you better off", does he? Hmm. Isn't he one of those who sat at that luncheon on Inaugural day plotting to turn Mr. Obama into a not one of us, communist, lefty, socialist, big spending, deficit exploding, nobody? You know the luncheon. The one where Mitch McConnell wanted to advance the GOP "we're gonna make him a one term President, yes we are ... talking points BS...?"

    Paul Ryan not only voted on each of Bush's unfunded wars, pharma giveaway, deficit exploding tax cuts, no child left behind, etc., he then turned around and screamed HELL NO right along with Mr. Boehner for the next 4 years whenever Mr. Obama proposed getting the country back on track.

    Ryan also ran in 2010 on a jobs program that ended up being nothing more than an anti-abortion platform ... which didn't help create one job, by the way.

    So here we are: the guy that screamed HELL NO wants to talk are we better off? The guy that helped create the mess that he is now railing against wants to talk are we better off. The guy who demanded a $15 fee to attend his Town Hall meetings now wants to talk are we better off?

    Yes. The country is better off than it was when it was shedding 750,000 jobs a month. Heck, I suspect Mitt Romney is better off financially then he was 4 years ago.

    And the boy-wonder? Who knows? Seems to be doing quite well for himself, for all those HELL NOs he liked to dish out against those Americans who suffered the most against his very own ideology and voting record.

    September 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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